National championship event returns to West Chester this weekend for the 8th time

Nearly 1,000 youth and junior triathletes from across the country will compete in the 2019 USA Triathlon Youth and Junior National Championships this weekend in West Chester.

The triathlon, which combines swimming, biking, and running of varying distances, is back in West Chester for the eighth consecutive year. Part of a five-year partnership between the Butler County Visitors Bureau and USA Triathlon, the event will remain at the Voice of America MetroPark until 2021.

PHOTOS: USA Triathlon Youth and Junior National Championships

Tracy Kocher, marketing director for the Butler County Visitors Bureau, hopes that the event will continue following the end of the agreement.

Through a combination of location, venue, and area support, Kocher said that West Chester was chosen as the host township in 2012 and has continued through today.

“With those factors combined, it makes West Chester a great place for the event,” Kocher said. “We love having it and would love to continue to host.”

Brian D’Amico, USA Triathlon National Events Director, said the organization has been pleased with West Chester.

“The safe, scenic and spectator-friendly course is ideal for showcasing our up-and-coming multisport stars,” D’Amico said. “The long-standing relationships we have built with Butler County Visitors Bureau, West Chester Twp. and the local authorities have allowed us to put on first-class events year after year, all while forging connections with the local community.”

Through the event’s athletes, supporters, and spectators, around $1.275 million will be brought into the local economy, which Kocher said comes from the number of visitors staying in area hotels and eating at local restaurants.

Kocher said that the Butler County Visitors Bureau has used the triathlon to springboard into other national athletic events including lacrosse, soccer, and an upcoming quidditch competition.

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The competition begins on Saturday morning with the Youth Elite National Championship where athletes aged 13 to 15 will finish a 375-meter swim, 10-kilometer bike, and a 2.5-kilometer run. The Junior Elite section will follow as athletes between the ages of 16 and 19 will do a 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike, and a five-kilometer run.

The athletes in the elite sections all had to qualify, while those in Sunday’s Youth Age Group did not. Sunday’s athletes will compete in 7-10 and 11-15 age groups.

Parts of Cox Road and Liberty Way will be closed on Saturday and Sunday between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m., but officials are asking drivers to be cautious on Friday morning during the event’s expo.

Races will take place between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday and 7:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. on Sunday. The event is open to the public.

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